Salt prices have jumped 40% in some places from $47 a ton in 2008 to $66 per ton this year, and some local governments are looking for more efficient ways to keep roads safe in the winter. In Wausau, Wis., for instance, road crews use brine, calcium chloride, a salt-sand mixture and basic road salt to counter slippery conditions. Salt brine is the most popular because it can cut salt usage by about 30%, a public works official says.

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